Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins - Update

I just read on Democratic Underground that Molly died today.

Here, from Anthony Zurcher who knew her well, is a tribute along with a link to her final post abut the "surge". There's nothing I can add except my sorrow that she's gone and my admiration for her life.

I was going to post the link but here's the entire column.


Goodbye, Molly I.

Molly Ivins is gone, and her words will never grace these pages again -- for this, we will mourn. But Molly wasn't the type of woman who would want us to grieve. More likely, she'd say something like, "Hang in there, keep fightin' for freedom, raise more hell, and don't forget to laugh, too."

If there was one thing Molly wanted us to understand, it's that the world of politics is absurd. Since we can't cry, we might as well laugh. And in case we ever forgot, Molly would remind us, several times a week, in her own unique style.

Shortly after becoming editor of Molly Ivins' syndicated column, I learned one of my most important jobs was to tell her newspaper clients that, yes, Molly meant to write it that way. We called her linguistic peculiarities "Molly-isms." Administration officials were "Bushies," government was in fact spelled "guvment," business was "bidness." And if someone was "madder than a peach orchard boar," well, he was quite mad indeed.

Of course, having grown up in Texas, all of this made sense to me. But to newspaper editors in Seattle, Chicago, Detroit and beyond -- Yankee land, as Molly would say -- her folksy language could be a mystery. "That's just Molly being Molly," I would explain and leave it at that.

But there was more to Molly Ivins than insightful political commentary packaged in an aw-shucks Southern charm. In the coming days, much will be made of Molly's contributions to the liberal cause, how important she was as an authentic female voice on opinion pages across the country, her passionate and eloquent defense of the poorest and the weakest among us against the corruption of the most powerful, and the joy she took in celebrating the uniqueness of American culture -- and all of this is true. But more than that, Molly Ivins was a woman who loved and cared deeply for the world around her. And her warm and generous spirit was apparent in all her words and deeds.

Molly's work was truly her passion.
She would regularly turn down lucrative speaking engagements to give rally-the-troops speeches at liberalism's loneliest outposts. And when she did rub elbows with the highfalutin' well-to-do, the encounter would invariably end up as comedic grist in future columns.

For a woman who made a profession of offering her opinion to others, Molly was remarkably humble. She was known for hosting unforgettable parties at her Austin home, which would feature rollicking political discussions, and impromptu poetry recitals and satirical songs. At one such event, I noticed her dining table was littered with various awards and distinguished speaker plaques, put to use as trivets for steaming plates of tamales, chili and fajita meat. When I called this to her attention, Molly matter-of-factly replied, "Well, what else am I going to do with 'em?"

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Molly's life is the love she engendered from her legions of fans. If Molly missed a column for any reason, her newspapers would hear about it the next day. As word of Molly's illness spread, the letters, cards, e-mails and gifts poured in.

Even as Molly fought her last battle with cancer, she continued to make public appearances. When she was too weak to write, she dictated her final two columns. Although her body was failing, she still had so much to say. Last fall, before an audience at the University of Texas, her voice began as barely a whisper. But as she went on, she drew strength from the standing-room-only crowd until, at the end of the hour, she was forcefully imploring the students to get involved and make a difference. As Molly once wrote, "Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for."

For me, Molly's greatest words of wisdom came with three children's books she gave my son when he was born. In her inimitable way, she captured the spirit of each in one-sentence inscriptions. In "Alice in Wonderland," she offered, "Here's to six impossible things before breakfast." For "The Wind in the Willows," it was, "May you have Toad's zest for life." And in "The Little Prince," she wrote, "May your heart always see clearly."

Like the Little Prince, Molly Ivins has left us for a journey of her own. But while she was here, her heart never failed to see clear and true -- and for that, we can all be grateful.

To find out more about Molly Ivins and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at


Courtesy of Truthout, here's a link to the Texas Observer. The paper will feature Molly over the next few days.



Delilah Boyd, one of my favorite women bloggers, just made my day with one image and one short paragraph.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Injustice - Border Patrol and Drug Smuggler



Breaking the silence
Convicted border agent tells his story
By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer
Story continues below list of links.

Related Articles
Jan 29:
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Jan 20:
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Jan 18:
House of Representatives press release re: Bill to pardon border agents
Agents' families exhausted as prison sentences begin
Agents surrender to police
Jan 17:
Agents to report to prison today
Dec 22:
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Dec 21:
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Dec 8:
48 lawmakers ask for pardons for agents
Dec 3:
GOP reps call for immediate hearing on Border Patrol Agents case
Oct 26:
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Oct 20:
Families to enjoy holidays before sentence begins
Sentence handed to border agents; free until Jan. 17
Oct 18:
Jurors say they were misled to convict agents
Border agent's family waits, worries
Oct 13:
Justice Department asked to review border agents' case
Oct 11:
Border agents denied delay
Oct 9:
Agents ask judge for delay
Sep 14:
Congress letter expresses need for review of agents' case
Sep 8:
Leaders push for delay in border agents' case
Sep 2:
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Aug 22:
Border agents get congressional support
Aug 18:
Agents' case prompts call for probe
Aug 13:
Convicted border agents finding a lot of supporters
Aug 10:
Troubling aspects to case against 2 border agents
Aug 9:
Support for border agents floods in

EL PASO, Texas - Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos could hear his heart racing. He could feel the dry, hot dust burning against his skin as he chased a drug trafficker trying to flee back into Mexico.
Ramos' fellow agent, Jose Alonso Compean, was lying on the ground behind him, banged up and bloody from a scuffle with the much-bigger smuggler moments earlier.
Suddenly the smuggler turned toward the pursuing Ramos, gun in hand. Ramos, his own weapon already drawn, shot at him, though the man was able to flee into the brush and escape the agents.
Now, nearly 18 months after that violent encounter, Ramos and Compean are facing 20 years in federal prison for their actions.

For rest of article, see:


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pardon Border Patrol Agents

Dear NewsMax Reader:

Please take a minute to read this urgent message from our sponsor, NumbersUSA, about an opportunity to send a fax encouraging President Bush to pardon the two Border Patrol agents who were sentenced to more than a decade in prison for trying to enforce our immigration laws.

Thank you.

Ask President Bush to Immediately Pardon Unjustly Jailed Border Patrol Agents!

Reports are that President Bush may be considering a Presidential Pardon for the two Border Patrol agents who were sentenced to more than a decade in prison for trying to enforce our immigration laws. Your FAX to the President will help keep up the pressure!

Last week, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso began their long prison sentences for wounding an illegal alien drug dealer, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, in the buttocks during a border incident.

The agents testified the drug dealer was armed, but there was no way to prove it because he escaped to Mexico. They found more than 800 pounds of marijuana in the drug dealer's van. And yet, our government prosecutors brought the illegal alien back from Mexico with promise of full immunity to help put the Border Patrol Agents behind bars!

NewsMax readers—This is NOT Justice!

Ask the president to pardon these brave men immediately. Just click the button below to add your voice to the groundswell. Faxing with NumbersUSA is easy. There is no cost to you of any kind. We've already delivered more than 50,000 faxes to the White House.

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WA: NewsMax is one of the "iffy" enewsies I get; Iffy in that "if I read it or if I delete it". Any time I see "Ann Coulter" in a text, it is automatically deleted. Once in a while they publish something I will read and even more rarely, something I may use in a post.

This article about the border patrol agents is a matter for you to peruse and make your own decision about it. The sponsor will fax your message for you. There are other issues for which they will fax a message for you to the appropriate representative.

I do not advocate yea nor nay for any one issue; it is up to you. Because this page is so large, it extends the full width of the blog and pushes our sidebar to the bottom. Therefore, it will be deleted by Wednesday.


Molly Ivins

I didn't know until a couple of months ago until an online friend asked me about her that Molly was so ill.

Here's the latest from Editor & Publisher, reprinted in Common Dreams. It doesn't look good. Molly is one of my favorites of course. The Lone Star state has produced many fine, strong, and brave women. Molly is one of them; my blogging partners here in their own way are as well. And of course my all time favorite, Governor Ann Richards. Much as he'd like us to beieve it, we can't blame Texas for George Bush. He's Connecticut all the way.

Molly Ivins Hospitalized in Ongoing Battle With Cancer
by E & P Staff

AUSTIN -- Almost three weeks ago, Molly Ivins wrote that she would dedicate every single one of her syndicated columns from now on to the issue of stopping the war in Iraq -- until it ended. But she has managed to finish only one more column since.

Molly Ivins
The gravely ill Texas columnist has been hospitalized again this week in her ongoing battle with breast cancer.

Her assistant Betsy Moon says she may be able to go home Monday. She adds that those close to Ivins are ``not sure what's going to happen, but she's very sick.''

The 62-year-old columnist had taken an earlier break from her syndicated column, but resumed writing earlier this month.

Last October she had suggested this headline to an E&P interviewer: "Molly Ivins Still Not Dead."

E&P wrote then, "The third recurrence of the breast cancer she has been battling since 1999 (and which recently claimed her good friend, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards) has left the 62-year-old Ivins with precarious balance, minimal hair, and no illusions about the redemptive quality of life-threatening illness. 'I'd hoped to become a better person from confronting my own mortality,' she laughs. 'But it hasn't happened.'"

In the Jan. 11th column, which opposed the troop escalation, Ivins wrote “We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war....If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'"

But this was the last newspaper column she has been able to write.

The column she wrote before that, a few days earlier, opened, "The president of the United States doesn't have the sense God gave a duck. So it's up to us. You and me.

"I don't know why Bush is just standing there like a frozen rabbit, but it's time we found out. The fact is we have to do something about it. This country is being torn apart by an evil and unnecessary war, and it has to be stopped now."

She vowed, "This will be a regular feature of mine, like an old-fashioned newspaper campaign. Every column, I'll write about this war until we find some way to end it.

"Every time, we'll review some factor we should have gotten right."

Nearly 400 newspapers subscribe to her column.

The longtime journalist and former New York Times reporter got her third cancer diagnosis more than a year ago and has undergone chemotherapy.

© Copyright 2007 Editor & Publisher


What Can We Do?

I always try to catch up with reading previous posts to avoid the duplication that Worried American and I have done from time to time. I tell her great minds work together.

Bill Moyers makes a number of the same points as WA did in her post replying to Spadoman earlier today. He includes a bit of good news, at least for me. He's returning to t.v.

Life on the Plantation
By Bill Moyers
t r u t h o u t | Address

Friday 12 January 2007

Address to the National Conference for Media, Memphis, Tennessee - as prepared for delivery.

I wanted to print his entire talk but it's much too long.

What can we do? A lot if we put our small differences aside and work together . I assure you Worried American, Gadfly, and I don't always march in lockstep but we agree on the future of this country and on almost everything else. We don't let our minor differences get in the way of working toward solutions.

We mustn't despair, we mustn't give up, and above all let's please not strain at the gnat while swallowing the camel.

Or, as a well known American, Ben Franklin, said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, "we must hang together or assuredly we will all hang separately".

Hang in there, my blogging friends.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Choosing Our Battles

On Comments,
"Spadoman said...
The sad part for me is that there aren't enough hours in the day to address all the issues. This one is horrible, to be sure, but so are many others. How do we pick and choose one to concentrate on? I feel like a top twirling around from one issue to another...."

I understand very well how Spadoman feels. Sometimes I become quite sad and depressed, even overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems the world faces. I go on rants that are often mixed with tears.

There has always been poverty, the hungry, children abused, abandoned, orphaned, spouse abuse (of both sexes, although the majority are women), corrupt governments, pollution, wars and man's inhumanity to man. In the past we were aware of these things but in a way, it was ages of innocence. Only now, in this Information Age, do we have instantaneous news in graphic detail of all the ills of our nation and the world until we feel that we are inundated by a tsunami of darknesss.

Although Granny does everything but hold down a nine to five outside job, she and I have more time to search the news than do our working- family readers, and we post on these news items to keep you aware and abreast of what's happening around the nation and the world. It is impossible for any one person or even any one organized group to address every problems that is presented. Many of us feel compelled to take action, to do something; we want to help make things better, to right wrongs, to create a better world and a better life for our descendents.

Since it impossible to address every problem, the only thing we can do is choose our battles. We may engage in side skirmishes here and there - like emailing our representatives or signing petitions - but our primary focus and most of our energies can be the main battle of our choosing. Granny belongs to several organizations that address specific issues; she blogs and holds her vigils. I blog, post letters and emails, and scatter Kommandos everywhere I can. Spadoman blogs and has begun holding his peace vigil. One person prints out flyers containing information and passes them around work and the community. Each person can contribute in his or her own way to make a difference.

A friend of mine concentrates on hospitalized Veterans. She has a group of church ladies that collect old jeans all year long, cut out, sew and decorate Christmas stockings from them; then they gather for an orgy of cookie making and collecting candy canes to fill the stockings to pass out at the VA hospital. Another enlists the art departments of the local grade schools for the children to make Valentine cards, 4th of July, Veteran's Day cards, Thanksgiving and Christmas cards, decorate boxes to hold the cards to be passed out at the VA hospital. (For the children's privacy, they sign only their first names to the cards and sometimes the name of their school). These are worthwhile projects to honor our veterans and let them know they are not forgotten nor unappreciated and I encourage anyone to follow suit. I can tell you that many of our hospitalized vets, especially those that are long term, often have NO visitors and sometimes NO mail. This is a crying shame!

There is an elderly woman near where I used to live whose garage looks like a tag sale run amok. She collects good, usable clothing which she mends, washes and irons and hangs in plastic bags, any workable appliances and kitchen items, dishes, linens, whatever. Neighbors know not to throw away anything usable when they get new things; she accepts donations of any household goods and has a couple of friend handymen who repair items for her. When she hears of a family whose home has burned, been destroyed by a tornado or flood, she has plenty of items to help replace what they have lost. Another lady scrounges around for items to donate to the homeless shelters. A neighbor man got a donut shop to give him pastries that would be discarded by morning, picks them up and drops them off at a men's shelter on his way to work. These may not be large, heroic actions but each helps make life better for someone.

We cannot force the government to return to the Shoshone the 90% of their lands it has literally stolen from them, but there are ways people have helped Native Americans on their reservations, where extreme poverty is rampant. Robert Young heard about some Native American elders who had frozen to death during a winter. As a result of his experience on the Lakota Pine Ridge reservation, he founded an organization dedicated to providing housing for Native Americans, helping them help themselves. See .

People donate their time and sweat in helping construct the homes, at 60% savings on cost. Volunteer labor from everywhere who can swing a hammer or lift a bale help out. I do not understand constructing homes of straw bales covered with stucco but I know that different types of construction are suitable to various climates. People have built durable adobe houses for centuries, yet in the wet Houston climate an adobe house would be reduced to a mud pile in one rainy season. Straw bale homes are cool in summer, warm in winter and free of contaminants found in conventional constructions.

Individuals can make a difference and contribute to society in their own ways by choosing their battles and winning victories. And any of us can pound a keyboard and fire off emails to keep pressure on our representatives if that is the battle we choose. Or march with signs, or blog, or help our neighbors who need a helping hand.


Comment on this blog from Kris, a visitor: Kris said.........................I have always liked Is America Burning! I would comment on your blog more,but sometimes I'm Lucky if I have time to sort through my own Email, and write a few sentences on my own blog! Keep up the Good Work! Your efforts are not in vain! May I also ask you to keep your readers updated on Divine Strake. This is a Huge Issue in Utah! Wednesday, January 24, 2007 9:14:56 PM

OK Kris; 'nuff said. United we stand, divided we fall. Next three posts informing fellow citizens about Divine Strake. Glad to help out. Best of luck. Any addresses/urls that other activists so-minded may write to?


Nevada has been the site of 935 nuclear tests over the years; citizens contaminated and poisoned by radioactive fallout have been compensated by the government (surprisingly enough!) The Divine Strake tests have been alleged to be radioactive free, then alleged to have no more radioactivity than normal background radiation.

Where does the truth lie, and is it even possible for citizens to trust their government?
Regardless of whether or not the tests will be radioactive, the fact remains that such shallow underground blasts will force into the air large amounts of surface soil, dust and debris that is already heavily contaminated by radioactivity. Depending on the prevailing winds, the radioactive fallout could be carried into neighboring states.

Tests & sites, continental U.S.: Nevada=935; Alaska=3; Colorado=2; New Mexico=2; Mississippi = 2 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
US Still Plans Divine Strake for Iran
MALIBU - After years of protests, piles of legal paperwork, United Nations' resolutions against the United States' decisions, so-called gradual encroachment that violates a longstanding treaty, and a fictitious entity created to accept money on behalf of the Shoshone despite the tribe's opposition to take cash in exchange for their land, the United States is still planning to detonate Divine Strake on Shoshone territory - a specially designed nuclear bomb intended for use on Iran.

Divine Strake is a 700-ton bunker-buster style bomb that is designed to explode above a tunnel structure. The test's objectives are to study ground shock effects on deeply buried tunnel structures and to study the airblast produced by a buried charge and its modification as it propagates over the local terrain. "This test is apparently designed to refine the ability of the United States to use low-yield nuclear weapons against underground targets," according to information on Citizen Alert's web site, a group opposed to the Divine Strake test.
[ "airblast" = the crud thrown into the air by the blast; "it propagates over the local terrain" = how far, wide and high does the radioactive fallout spread]

The big obstacle currently holding up the test is the Clean Air Act. The Department of Energy must obtain a permit from the State of Nevada to execute the test. However, the Divine Strake test is scheduled on land where above and below ground nuclear testing has taken place for decades. [and is grossly contaminated with radioactivity]

The resulting mushroom cloud would blow radioactive poison into the air that would float not only 65-miles downwind to the large urban area of Las Vegas, but also to neighboring states. Folks in Southern Utah have developed leukemia among other cancer diseases and have been compensated by the government for the lethal effects on their health from the NTS tests. If the winds shift, as they often do in Nevada, the radioactive poison could float into California.

Divine Strake is one of several "Divine" efforts under the Hard and Deeply Buried Target Defeat (HDBTD) program supported by the Bush Administration. Other such efforts are labeled Divine Warhawk, Divine Helcat, and Divine Hates. [ why divine? Does this reflect Bush's claims of a God mandated strike on the axis of evil, or his own crowned divinity?] However, the explosive power of Divine Strake will be approximately 593 tons of TNT equivalent, or roughly 0.6 kt. To put this in perspective, this is about double the lowest yield option on the non-strategic B61 nuclear gravity bomb. The analysis suggests Divine Strake may be intended to fine-tune use of the B61 bomb.[ Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrating Weapon (RNEP)].

“Divine Strake is one of many experiments and studies being conducted by the military aimed at learning how best to combine nuclear and non-nuclear weaponry in the new round of small wars that **powerful factions in the United States appear determined to fight," according to information published by the group Citizen Alert.

Last May, the government led the Shoshone Tribe to believe the Divine Strake test was "postponed indefinitely," meaning not likely to take place at all. Corbin Harney, Shoshone leader, said at that time the tribe had been lied to before by the U.S. government. And as was expected after the successful Shoshone protests at the Nevada Test site in that month, it is now clear the government lied. [Shocking! the government LIED?? Unbelievable!] (See protests in post below)

"The test is planned for sometime in 2007," Darwin Morgan, a spokesperson for the Nevada Test Site (NTS) said in a phone interview today. When asked to confirm if Divine Strake is intended for use on Iran or Iranian targets, Morgan merely referred media to other contacts. "As far as any other specifics, whether it is planned for Iran or other uses from their experiment, you'd have to call the DTRA in Virginia," Morgan said. "We are simply providing them a place to do their experiment." However, inside NTS sources brave enough to communicate with the Shoshone on condition of anonymity during the May NTS protests confirmed Iran was the intended target for Divine Strake.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) mission statement is: "In the post-Cold War environment, a unified, consistent approach to deterring, reducing and countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is essential to maintaining our national security. . .(and) to reduce the physical and psychological terror of WMD." [The U.S. has stockpiled the largest number of WMDs in the world. The U.S. also creates the most physical and psychological terror of WMDs in the world.Everyone distrusts our government and is scared to death of Bush's instability]

However, Dr. Hans Blix, former United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector, is the Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC). The WMDC released its report on June 1, 2006 titled: "WEAPONS OF TERROR: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms." This report disputes the claim that there is a need to create such weapons. Blix said in a report that after 50 years of cold war, we even see the risk of arms races involving new types of nuclear weapons, space weapons and missiles if the U.S. continues on its current road to test "Divine" bombs.

"The Divine Strake test sends a signal to the world that the United States is continuing to refine its own weapons of mass destruction, and considers them an integral part of military forces designed to carry out a policy of preventive war," according to information from the group Citizen Alert. "We will not end the fundamental danger to humanity posed by nuclear weapons by endless rounds of threat and counter-threat. It is time for the United States and the other nuclear-armed states to fulfill their end of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty bargain: to negotiate in good faith for the elimination of their nuclear arsenals."

The U.S. Government considers NTS government lands and not the property of the Shoshone through "gradual encroachment." [Oh, if you steal a little at a time by "gradual encroachment", then it is yours and no longer the property of the rightful owner? Legally, the 1863 Treaty with the Shoshone is still binding!]

© PCH Press 2006. All Rights Reserved. [Next 2 posts; Divine Strake usage; animated example; lethal fallout]

Divine: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Having the nature of or being a deity. Of, relating to, emanating from, or being the expression of a deity: sought divine guidance through meditation. Being in the service or worship of a deity; sacred. Superhuman; godlike. Supremely good or beautiful; magnificent: a divine performance of the concerto. Extremely pleasant; delightful: had a divine time at the ball. Heavenly; perfect.

[WA: Who knows? There is a series of these Divine-s. Does the name reflect Bush's avowal that he has these little chats with God and God tells him what to do, so these are godly weapons to carry out the Almighty's will? Or, since it is the aim of Bush and the Neocons to establish the New Imperial Rome, and some of the ancient Caesars decided that being emperors of the most powerful nation on earth wasn't enough but wanted to be gods and worshipped as such, that our Georgie has godly ambitions too? His weapons reflect his holy divinity?]

Strake: Photobucket - Video and Image HostingA device for controlling air flow over an aircraft. A strake is also a part of a boat or ship used for generally the same purpose in water rather than air. It is a strip of planking in a wooden vessel or of plating in a metal one, running longitudinally along the vessel's side, its bottom or between them on the turn of the bilge.

The DIVINE STRAKE full scale test is planned to be a large-yield, buried burst detonated at the Nevada Test Site.(NTS) Divine Strake would appear to be associated with the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator RNEP, or possibly the B61-11 Earth-Penetrating Weapon, a fact that is obscured in most press coverage. [WA: See second post re: RNEPs and animated demonstration].

Divine Strake is a high-explosive (HE) test sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The test is a detonation of a 700 ton buried heavy AN/FO charge above a tunnel structure. The main purpose of the test is to study ground shock effects on deeply buried tunnel structures.

Of secondary interest is the airblast produced by a buried charge and its modification as it propagates over the local terrain. Scheduled for the summer of 2006, as of 01 April 2006 the test was planned for 02 June 2006. DIVINE STRAKE is one of several "DIVINE" efforts under the Hard and Deeply Buried Target Defeat (HDBTD) program. DIVINE WARHAWK consists of deep underground operational tunnel facility defeat demonstrations using advanced weapons at the White Sands Missile Range. DIVINE HELCAT was a 2004 reconstitution exercise to determine reconstitution time for the C3I tunnel facility at Nevada Test Site (NTS). Also in 2004 planning began for DIVINE HATES, which is a WMD production and storage tunnel complex functional defeat effort.
(To read complete article: )

[WA: Just as the invasion of Iraq was planned long before 9/11 (which merely gave the neocons an excuse), so has the invasion of Iran and the Middle East been planned for a number of years. Nor forgetting the oil rich states of Africa, either, and look out! S.A.]


You bet your bippy, especially the Shoshone Native Americans who LEGALLY own the land but it has been stolen from them by the U.S. Government ( more on that later). Other American citizens from Nevada and neighboring states also protest. They want NO MORE radioactive fallout poisoning them, even though the government paid compensation for previous poisonings. The protests succeeded in delaying the tests but they are scheduled to resume this year - 2007.

For photos of protests, see:

Shoshone march in protest:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Divine Strake is one of a bunker buster class of weapons, designed to neutralize enemy underground facilities, especially suspected nuclear facilities. I posted on these types of weapons in April 2006 on "This Is War".

Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrating Weapons: **animated demonstration. **WATCH**

Earth Penetrating Weapons - Text to accompany animation, above

RNEP - - text w/ grahics of fallout and millions dead

In Twelve Hours Time, 1 million Iranians Can be Dead. How Many American Troops?How Many of Other Nations. Wind borne fallout doesn't stop at national borders. [3 million in 24 hrs.]

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Well, All Right Now !

Cool. Old Woman. I like it. Does Grannie?

One Year Ago Today; My! My! - Reposted from 1/25/06

Google demonstrates alongside its peers, Yahoo and Microsoft, that it will cooperate with any repressive government in order to do business and earn profits. And to heck with decency and the poor, benighted consumers.

"Google Agrees to Censor Results in China; Search giant gives in to free-speech limits in return for better access."http://www/ Users who attempt to access censored material will be redirected to a government site. Do you think the government computers will be able to back track to the user's computer and see who's googling for forbidden information?The article states that google will not "host its email or blogging services that can be mined for information about its users." Oh, and googling can't?

How about email and blogging servers here in the land of the free being mined for information? Never happen here; we have rights and our government would never violate our rights. And businesses would never betray their consumers at the behest of the government. And we all believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

Like last year when Yahoo gave up to the Chinese government the email account of a journalist who was then prosecuted and convicted of "violating secrecy laws". China's strict censorship laws will not permit free access to knowledge of certain subjects and will not tolerate dissent.

Hmmm! Wonder how long it will be before Americans face the same problems?
#PermanentLink posted byWorried @ 1/25/2006 11:03:00 AM 5 people speaking out - links to this post

Do we still wonder? What a difference a year makes....

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Can it happen here? Stand against book banning. Support Libraries and Librarians.

This post contains additions to the original.

Also suport history and literature teachers; encourage your children to take these subjects seriously instead of "groan" subjects. Oh yes, way back in the Dark Ages when the world was fresh and new, Worried was once a student and well recall the groans of fellow students about these subjects. I reared a passle of children and heard their groans, then the groans of grand children. I am aware that children do not understand the importance of these subjects.
Censorship = loss of freedom of speech. Book banning = loss of freedom of speech and is the first step towards book burning. Book burning = loss of freedom of speech, loss of intellectual freedom and allows government control of knowledge. ........
Book Burning in the 20th Century—1933
"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." (German: "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.")—Heinrich Heine, from his play Almansor (1821)

Did it happen? Remember the Holocaust. The German people were a civilized, cultured race, and yet a psychotic leader led their country into horror and downfall. Many governments practised ethnic cleansing of one sort or another. We are too advanced, too civilized to allow such things to happen? Do we have a history of lynchings, burnings, and other atrocities committed against fellow citizens? Do we have a history of rounding up and imprisoning an entire race of fellow Americans who had ancestry of people deemed our enemies?

One way the Nazis cleansed the country of "un-German" thoughts was through censorship. A "brown shirt" ( member of the SA) throws more fuel --"un-German" books into a roaring fire on the Opernplatz in Berlin. May 10, 1933

Nazi burning of Jewish books and books deemed un-German.

Many of the books burned in Nazi Germany not only included all Jewish writings - literature, history and scientific works - but also many books by non-Jewish writers that are considered classics in America and much of the Western world.

In the post of 1/22/07, "Who Are The Terrorists", I pointed out that governments traditionally created a common enemy in order to instill fear in the citizens and to enlist their support in government policy and actions. The Nazis presented the Jews as the enemy, responsible for the financial quagmire Germany suffered post-WWI and all other ills of their society. Now our government presents another people of a different race and religion as our enemy. What does this have to do with book banning/ burning? Part and parcel of government control, control of knowledge, control of thinking and mental attitudes, especially of the young, and misdirection of citizen displeasure.

Calling All Book Lovers - People Who Love to Read

The TV is OFF and has been off all evening. I do not want to hear one word of you-know-who nor catch a glimpse him as I pass through the living room on the way to the kitchen for more coffee. Fie on the lying scoundrel; I do not need to get my blood pressure up and risk another stroke. He isn't worth it.

Blogger was being contrary again which prevented me from working on the other blogs, so I spent time going through my file cache. I do not know how I overlooked posting on banned books last September but for a confirmed book lover it is never too late. A long while ago I posted about my wrath and indignation when some African-American activists got Little Black Sambo removed from some school library shelves (and recently on another blog). As a child I loved that book and re-read it many times. I never saw a black person until I was about ten years old; that little book had created a very positive impression of Africans in my mind which, in conjunction with my blessed grandmother's teaching against racial bias, helped offset negative input when I was older.

The list of books banned or offered for banning is astonishing. Many are considered classics in American literature. What motivated the blue-noses to want most them banned is a puzzle to me. One good site to access the list is:
Celebrate your freedom to read
9/12/2006 01:55:00 PM
Posted by Leslie Burger, President, American Library Association
What was your favorite book when you were in school? Did F. Scott Fitzgerald give you an inside look at a world of glamorous parties where the wealthy fell in love and went home with their feelings hurt? Did Holden Caulfield speak directly to your inner misanthrope? For decades, literary classics such as The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye have had a profound impact on millions of readers.

Yet every year, there are hundreds of attempts to remove great books from schools and libraries nationwide. Fortunately, the American Library Association and many other organizations are fighting back with Banned Books Week, taking place this year Sept. 23-30.For 25 years, libraries and bookstores nationwide have been celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, which is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Association of College Stores, and endorsed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

Now Google has joined the party. At, you can use Google Book Search to explore some of the best novels of the 20th century which have been challenged or banned. And while libraries and bookstores around the country celebrate the 25th anniversary of Banned Books Week with special readings, displays, and more, you just might end up with a visit to your local library or bookstore and an old favorite or a new banned book in hand.
WA: To me, banning books goes hand in hand with book burning, a tactic used by repressive regimes and conquerors. This heinous practise has robbed us of great literature of the past and of history and scientific achievements in olden times. We are so smug about our scientific and technological advances in modern times, yet there in much in the past that we still do not know how it was accomplished. Knowledge has been lost that would benefit us today if not for the stupidity of mankind.

Don't have time to visit a library? Scroll down through Sherhazade's posts on "Looking Oppositely" at: for links to on-line books and for excellent book reviews. Some links she offers are: ; ; ;

Attwoods offers a link for a John Steinbeck book "The Moon is Down" at:

If anyone has links to other on-line books, please post them in comments.

Doing this post is a refreshing break for me from politics and war. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Empty Promises

Here's more from Campaign for America's Future along with a copy of the email I received today.

The link features broken promises from the past few State of the Union Addresses. Let's see how many more there will be tonight. Even if we don't watch it (and now it seems as if I'll have to because Elcie has it as a homework assignment), we can't avoid reading about it.

Here's the email:

Expose Bush's Empty
State of the Union Rhetoric

If Bush's past State of the Union addresses are any guide, this one will be full of empty promises, twisted stats and half-truths. Check out our State of the Union - By the Numbers guide to see how Bush's rhetoric has consistently failed to match reality. Then, help to call out the REAL State of the Union and Bush's empty rhetoric, by writing a letter to the editor to your local news outlets.

Every year since 2001, President Bush has delivered a State of the Union address. And every year, he's failed to deliver on his promises. Tonight, we expect him -- once again -- to try to mislead the public into thinking he is responding to their concerns. We expect more empty promises, twisted stats and half-truths.

But we don't have to let his misinformation go unchallenged. We can counter Bush's rhetoric, but only with your help.

We've collected the hard data about the real state of our union, to expose what's really happened on Bush's watch. And, we've combed Bush's past State of the Union addresses to show where he's made empty promises, over and over again on the key issues he's expected to address tonight. We've assembled all that information in an easy-to-follow watch guide, "State of the Union -- By The Numbers," so you can keep track of where Bush adds more phony pledges and claims tonight.

Perceptions of Bush's speech will be shaped largely by media coverage, and we can't just sit back and expect most journalists to expose the reality masked by Bush's rhetoric. We also can't let right-wingers take over tomorrow's editorial pages and spread Bush's misinformation. So tonight, after the State of the Union address is over, get the facts from our "State of the Union -- By The Numbers" guide, and then write your local newspaper editors to share the facts and make sure they cover the full story. Let's remind local editors and all of their readers that Bush lost our trust because of his six-year record of failure, and he won't regain it with one more misleading speech.

Here are just two suggestions for how you can help counter the president's hype:

* If Bush presents a plan to provide affordable health care for everybody, you can expose how he's made that exact promise four years running, then allowed healthcare costs to skyrocket and millions more to go uninsured on his watch. GO»
* If Bush pronounces his support of energy independence, you can show that he's made that claim for six straight years. Yet, he doled out billions of taxpayer dollars to Big Oil while our gas consumption and gas prices have both steadily climbed. GO »

Bush's objective tonight is to regain control over the nation's policy agenda on behalf of his special-interest cronies. Last November, voters wrested back control of the agenda and placed it in the hands of our new Congress. Let's keep it that way, so that we can again have a truly representative and responsive government. Get the facts. And after tonight's speech, alert the media and help to inform your community.

Thanks again for helping to deliver a much-needed dose of reality.


Ian Mishalove, Director Online Communications
Campaign for America's Future

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

Ann: Web address? I didn't see one but here's their home page.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Campaign for America's Future.


Blog On !

Granny and I appreciate every one of our friends/readers/visitors to this blog, but there are times when I would become discouraged about the few comments posted here when compared to the large numbers on other blogs. Only those comments we received kept me going when I felt down. You have no idea how much they mean to me.

Then I installed site meter and I was very surprised at the number of visitors who stopped by. I knew that some visitors did not comment, some were lurkers and some of those did not comment but sent emails, but I had no idea how many there really were. Also when doing various searches, I found Is America Burning turning up in unexpected places. I deduced that we had far more readers and coverage than I imagined.

Now and then we have foreign visitors, some from Arab states, and some unidentified. Some site meter posts state Domain name, IP address, ISP continent, country = unknown, and referring url is blank. Ofcourse I do not understand this. There are numbers who are registered as 0.00 time, indicating they are surfers who click on and click off. Some access the blog through bloglines or through search engines for certain topics, and some access us directly and are on for a few minutes to 17 to 30 minutes and access a number of pages. Even more surprising are the ones who click off after accessing the sidebar entries of cost of war, national debt, and the clustrmap, and most of these are from foreign visitors! I would have thought that such stats were of more interest to Americans.

I often urge other bloggers to blog on, as bloggers in general do a good service. I am heartened and will blog on, also.

Notes on "Who Rules America"

On Jan. 16 I posted the first part of "Who Rules America." It was quite long and so for post # 2 I have cut it shorter. To complete the entire article with shorter posts will require a larger number of posts, but may encourage more readers to complete the article. I will post one a week.

Admittedly, it is dry reading to those who have little interest in finance, but it is a telling article that can help understand how the political system actually works and how we are ruled - and the ruling class is gaining ever more power, leading to a world fascist system and in which the poor get poorer , the rich get richer, and the middle class shrinks towards poverty.

I do not know how many of our readers read Part 1; it was too long, perhaps. PT is the only one who commented but many readers do not comment. I realized that many readers did not comment and that we had a number of lurkers, some of whom email rather than comment, but I didn't know until I got a site meter just how many visitors Granny and I had to this blog. I was surprised and gratified.

Readers who have read all or part of "Who Rules America" and/or readers who want to know more about the Ruling Class (RC) may get more information at the following urls. Wikipedia delivers "just the facts, ma'am"; a second site posts negative content.

Carlyle Group: Check out the "Controversy" paragraph.
Carlyle; Former World Leaders and Washington Insiders Make Billions from War on Terror:

Bilderberg Group:
Bilderberg; Secret Lobbying for Anti-Democratic European Superpower by Western Elite: You can tell this is a negative report by their logo of a skull and crossbones titled Bilderberg. :-) Numerous links for more info.

Trilateral Commission:
Trilateral Commission; Treasonous Agenda of the Trilateral Commission: Devvy writes many "exposes". She is quite blunt spoken and writes for a couple of publishers.

Gadfly is a Conspiracy Theory Addict; she loves them and I am surprised she hasn't posted on some of these!

Who Rules America - Part 2

[Last paragraph of previous post on 1/16/2007]
All RC financial sectors have been enriched by White House and Congressional policies. All have benefited from the ascendancy of ‘liberalizing regimes’ throughout the world. They have reaped the gains of the expansionary phase of the international economy. While the entire ruling financial, real estate and trading sectors have been the main beneficiaries, it has been the financial groups, particularly the investment banks that have led the way and provide the political leadership.

New Post:
Ascendancy of Financial Capital
‘Finance capital’ has many faces and cannot be understood without reference to specific sectors. Investment banks, pension funds, hedge funds, savings and loan banks, investment funds are only a few of the operative managers of a multi-trillion dollar economy. Moreover each of these sectors have specialized departments engaged in particular types of speculative-financial activity including commodity and currency, trading, consulting and managing acquisition and mergers. Despite a few exposés, court cases, fines and an occasional jailing, the financial sector writes its rules, controls its regulators and has secured license to speculate on everything, everywhere and all the time.

They have created the framework or universe in which all other economic activities (manufacturing, retail sales and real estate) take place.‘Finance capital’ is not an isolated sector and cannot be counterposed to the ‘productive economy’ except in the most marginal ‘local activity’. In large part finance capital interacts with and is the essential driving force in real estate speculation, agro-business, commodity production and manufacturing activity. To a large degree ‘market prices’ are as influenced by speculative intervention as they are by ‘supply and demand’. Equally important, the entire architecture of the ‘paper empire’ (the entire complex of inter-related financial investments) is ultimately dependent on the production of goods and services.

The structure of power and wealth takes the form of an inverted triangle in which a vast army of workers, peasants and salary employees produce value which becomes the basis for near and remote, simple and exotic, lucrative and speculative financial instruments. The transfer of value from the productive activities of labor up through the ladder and branches of financial instruments is carried out through various vehicles: direct financial ownership of enterprises, credit, debt leveraging, buyouts and mergers. The tendency of ‘productive capitalists’ is to start-up an enterprise, innovate, exploit labor, capture markets and then ‘sell-out’ or go ‘public’ (stock offerings).

The financial sector acts as combined intermediary, manager, proxy-purchaser and consultant, capturing substantial fees and expanding their economic empires and… preparing the way to higher levels of acquisitions and mergers… ‘Finance capital’ is the midwife of the concentration and centralization of wealth and capital as well as the direct owner of the means of production and distribution. From exacting a larger and larger ‘tribute’ or ‘rent’ (commission or fee) on each large-scale capital transaction, ‘finance capital’ has moved toward penetrating and controlling an enormous array of economic activities, transferring capital across national and sectoral boundaries, extracting profits and dumping shares according to the business, product and profit cycle.

Within the ruling class, the financial elite is the most parasitical component and exceeds the corporate bosses (CEOs) and most entrepreneurs in wealth and annual payments. It falls short of the annual income and assets of the super-rich entrepreneurs like William Gates and Michael Dell.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Veiled (or not so veiled) Racism Already

These two articles, from Media Matters, were one right after the other in my mailbox today.

On Fox News Sunday , Williams claimed Obama's Muslim father "presents a problem"

NY Post headline on Richardson's presidential plans: N.M. Gov Throws Sombrero Into Ring."

Muslim father? Sombrero? What about their qualifications?


The Real State of the Union - Update

I'm trying to decide whether to watch the speech tomorrow night. Usually I change the channel as soon as I hear his voice.

Here, from Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future and writing in Tom Paine, is a far better speech than the one we'll we watching (or reading about later).

State Of The Union: Deteriorating January 22, 2007

Robert L. Borosage is co-director of the Campaign For America's Future.

Tomorrow night, President Bush will tell Americans that the state of our union is strong. He’ll celebrate a growing economy, enjoying rising productivity, rising profits, more jobs and record home ownership. He’ll stand as commander in chief of the most powerful military ever. He’ll lay out areas—energy, immigration, health care—where he envisions progress through bipartisan cooperation.

What he won’t do is level with Americans. In reality, America’s condition is deteriorating rapidly. We’re like a world-class athlete who has let himself go in middle age. Muscle is turning to flab; arteries are clogged, reflexes slowed. The body is not only more vulnerable to garden-variety ailments, it is susceptible to what might be crippling strokes.

An extreme metaphor? Consider the following realities that the president is unlikely to call to the nation’s attention.

Stock prices and productivity are up, CEO salaries are soaring, but workers aren’t sharing in the profits they helped generate. Incomes aren’t keeping up with costs. Since Bush took office six years ago, more Americans live in poverty (now 37 million), families have gone deeper in debt, more go without health insurance (over 45 million), fewer have pensions at work. Americans are working longer and harder than the workers in any other industrial nation, including Japan. But around their kitchen tables at night, they find it harder and harder to figure out how to make ends meet. For most Americans, it’s getting ever harder to provide the basics—stable jobs with family wages, adequate health care, affordable education for their kids, a secure retirement, enough money to keep up with their loans.

Step back and look at the country and our condition appears even more perilous. We face the worst foreign policy debacle in our history in Iraq, the largest trade deficits in the annals of time, the worst inequality since the Gilded Age, record family debt burdens, a health care system that is broken, an education system in dire need of basic investment, an energy policy that undermines our security and fosters catastrophic climate change, 13 million children raised in poverty and the worst budget deficits ever.

We are mortgaging the store—unsustainable trade deficits, record budget deficits and record family indebtedness. The rest of the world—led by central bankers in China and Japan—are financing our profligacy while they capture our manufacturing capacity. We now have a trade deficit with China not only in consumer goods for Wal-Mart, but in high-tech equipment. We are now, for the first time, paying more in interest abroad, $10 billion a year, than our global investments are generating in income. And the president’s trade and tax policies insure that we will keep digging the hole that we’re in.

Worse, we’ve squandered what we’ve borrowed. We should be investing in science and technology, in modern infrastructure, in education and energy independence so that we build a more competitive economy able to grow its way out of a $9 trillion hole. Instead, we’ve ladled the money out to the wealthy in tax breaks and to foreign misadventure in Iraq. Our communications system now lags behind that of Japan and Europe. Our energy dependence bets our economy on the shifting sands of Persian Gulf tribal politics. We aren’t even making the basic investments in education—early childhood health, universal preschool, smaller classes, better teachers and affordable college.

Meanwhile, the captains of our global banks and corporations bail out of America, moving jobs and investments abroad. We’ve witnessed an unprecedented criminal wilding in the corporate suites, as executives cook the books and backdate stock options to plunder their own companies. The federal government has been captured by corporate interests—with oil and gas companies pocketing billions in tax subsidies while wallowing in record profits, and the drug industry enjoying record rates of return while forcing Americans to pay the highest price for medicine in the world.

The U.S. is still prosperous, blessed with creative and hard-working people. Our universities are still the best in the world. A world-class economy—like a world-class athlete—maintains a lot of muscle, even while in decline. But don’t be confused—we’re living off of former glories. When the president says the state of the union is strong, he may be deluding himself, but he’s fooling fewer and fewer people here and abroad.


Elcie (oldest kid - now almost 14) has been assigned the speech as her homework tonight. I'm glad that they're at least paying some attention to civics; on the other hand it seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me. I'll watch it with her and we can both throw marshmallows at the screen as one of my favorite woman bloggers does.


Who Are The Terrorists - Part 2

Video: 3+ minutes long - from Ava Lowry Slide show continues after music stops

Who Are The Terrorists?

Governments have traditionally used fear of an enemy to assure citizen support, compliance and cooperation as the government engaged in political and warring actions for its own ends. "Us" against "them" is a tried and true tactic, even on the field of sports.

How many of you are old enough to remember the Red Menace, when Communism was the bug-a-bear of the day? McCarthy reigned supreme and destroyed countless numbers of American lives by tarring them with the Commie brush. The giant Russian Bear was pictured as hovering over the free world with bared fangs and claws, ready to dominate and force all free and peace loving people to submit to their ideology. Nuclear War was held over our heads as the major catastrophe looming to destroy us.

Fear of Communism was the favored terror tactic employed for many years. The Cuban Crisis whipped the populace into a frenzy of shelter building and stockpiling of food stuffs and supplies. Grocery shelves were emptied and a product called Multi-Purpose Food (MPF) was touted as a space saving, nutritious alternative to mountains of canned goods. It tasted AWFUL and one would have to be literally starving to eat it, if even then. Some people avowed that starvation was preferable to eating that stuff. Evacuation plans for cities were laid out, and those workers in essential services were advised to arrange for the care of their families, as in the event of an attack they would not be allowed to leave their jobs.

The Screaming Eagle forced the Red Bear to back down and remove its missles from Cuba, so that terror was somewhat abated. But the dirty Commies remained an effective bug-a-bear, they just changed colors. Then war was necessary to stop the Yellow Horde from advancing southward into Korea; later it was Vietnam. The Commies could not be allowed to prevail or the whole world would be at risk to fall to Communism!! Now, over 50 years later, we continue to maintain a holding force at the 38th parallel in Korea, and everyone knows what happened in the 'Nam. We didn't get nuked, the bear's fangs and claws were blunted, the Vietnamese Communists didn't threaten the free world (and now we build trade with them) and the Commie terror threat faded into obscurity.

A new terror threat was necessary. Contrary to popular belief, the invasion of Iraq and the Middle east didn't pop up suddenly as a result of 9/11; it was planned for several years prior to that catastrophe. 9/11 merely provided the excuse, and we were threatened with Islamic terrorists as the current bug-a-bear. Deceived into supporting the Neocons plots and enraged at the attack on our people, the citizens obliging fell into line with the government. Now that the truth is out, the government is forced to provide a new terror threat: Iran and Syria, the next targets on the Neocon agenda. Once again, WMDs, nuclear attack, backback/suitcase mini-nukes, obliterate Israel, and so on. The radical Islamists obliging add fuel to the flame by attacks here and there about the globe.

Terror, terror, terror. Keep the citizens fearful, force them to turn to our leaders to protect us. And if some obliging terrorist group hits us again, it will be an answer to neocon prayers, justifying their wars. Bush will be vindicated and the plots to control the world's oil can proceed without citizen objections.

Now that the "surge" has been announced, the TV further obliges the government by airing anti-Saddam documentaries, pro-mercenary docs, and heroic war docs and movies. (BlackHawk Down is airing again, too).
Saddam exercised extreme cruelty against his people to keep them terrorized into line. He ruined the nation's economy with the Iran-Iraq 8 year war, instigated and armed to a large extent by the U.S. and European collaborators. He is condemned for torture and death of his people, for lawless arrests and executions, for unsupported accusations of wrong doing and unlawful incarcerations. He was a monster, like many other tyrants supported by the U.S. until they were no longer useful to Neocon plans.

Bush has promoted detention and torture of individuals, including some U.S. citizens, often with unsupported or no accusations. Are his hands clean of the blood that was on Saddam's hands because he has most of his victims rendered to cooperative nations who will do the torture for him, or tortured out of the U.S. national boundries? Bush has violated, even done away with the law of habeas corpus, shredded the Constitution (" a g-d piece of paper") , and has ruined this nation financially; well in the black at the end of the Clinton administration but now trillions of dollars in debt, much of the debt to Communist China. If our nation survives Bush, our great-great grandchildren will still be paying off the debt.

For every accusation Bush levels against other nations, I see the same crimes at his doorstep. Who has the greatest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world? Who provides Israel with her nukes and high tech weaponry, some of which are horrific in the extreme? Who spends more on its military than all other nations in the world combined? Who is the greatest threat to world peace? Who has violated the Geneva Convention and even denies he is bound to it? On and on, a veritable litany of accusations to be laid at his feet. Every accusation that he has leveled at others bounce back and accuse him of equal or more guilt.

If there is any justice in this life, there will be a new Nuremberg Trials and you know who should be first on the docket .

Ghosts of Vietnam

Ghosts Of Vietnam
Paul Waldman
January 17, 2007

Paul Waldman is a senior fellow at Media Matters for America and the author of the new book, Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Can Learn From Conservative Success (John Wiley & Sons). The views expressed here are his own.

For a time, conservatives reacted to those who raised parallels between Iraq and Vietnam with shock, dismay, even rage. How dare anyone try to draw a parallel to a war built on presidential lies, false claims of American interests at stake and a steady flow of American deaths, each one offered so the last would not be in vain? But lately the comparisons to Vietnam have come more often in the form of warnings to Democrats: Don’t get carried away, or you will once again be branded the party of hippies and draft-dodgers, peaceniks and pot-smokers, bringing America down with your depressing vibe, crunching our patriotic buzz with talk of defeat and dishonor. You’ll be called “soft,” you won’t be trusted with our nation’s security and the charge of wimpishness will stick to you for decades to come.

Before Democrats react as they often do—with terror and frantic me-too hawkishness at the mere mention of the word “hippie”—they should take note of how often their opponents offer their friendly counsel to recommend timidity. Richard Nixon’s boundless enthusiasm for carpet-bombing notwithstanding, Vietnam always belonged to a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson. And though our next president will no doubt spend much of his or her time mopping up the bloody remains of this spectacular misadventure, Iraq will always be George W. Bush’s war.

And as in Vietnam, the American public has turned against a war they initially were persuaded to support. It was in August 1968—four years after the passage of the Tonkin Gulf resolution authorizing President Johnson to launch a full-scale war—that, for the first time, over 50 percent of Americans branded the Vietnam War a mistake. The Tet offensive earlier that year had finally convinced Americans that the mission was doomed. Though a military success, Tet showed that the Vietcong and North Vietnamese were not going anywhere and there was no end in sight. And just as the Bush administration so often reminds us of the extraordinary “progress” being made in Iraq, in Vietnam the government always saw the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Today opinions on Iraq match the final public conclusions on Vietnam: six in 10 Americans saying it was a mistake, and three in four disapproving of the job the president is doing on the issue (Johnson’s approval ratings on his handling of Vietnam bottomed out at 27 percent in an August 1967 Gallup poll; the latest one puts approval of President Bush’s handling of Iraq at 26 percent).

But the real reason Vietnam ended up hurting Democrats wasn’t the simple fact of their opposition to the war. Let’s remember that in the 1960s, America went through a full-blown culture war that makes our own seem like the tiniest of molehills. (In truth, it would be more accurate to say that it’s all one long culture war, but the conflict then was at a period of particular intensity.) During Vietnam, Americans had real fears (justified or not) of anarchy in the streets. High school students walked out of their classes, college students burned their draft cards and young people challenged the very foundations of the society on which comfortable middle-class life was built.

However we view those conflicts today, millions of Americans genuinely believed that they were personally under assault from the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture. Today, only the truly insane could believe that their very way of life is being threatened by an opposition to the war that is by any historical standard extraordinarily measured and well-behaved. This is not to say that conservatives won’t attempt to blame liberals for the failure of Bush’s war—of course they will. They can’t blame themselves, after all. (Kevin Baker examined this topic in his extraordinary article in last June’s Harper’s , “Stabbed in the Back! The Past and Future of a Right-Wing Myth.” It is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the politics of national security.)

They will nonetheless have an awfully tough time making the case to anyone but the most fevered of Bush loyalists, a group that grows smaller by the day.

The Power of Positive Thinking Johnson was famously tortured by the war in Vietnam, spending sleepless nights fretting about the casualties and the dim prospects for success. Bush, on the other hand, told People magazine in December, “I must tell you, I’m sleeping a lot better than people would assume.” Second-guessing oneself, in Bush’s endless cycle of insecurity and overcompensation, is for wimps. Steadfastness, firmness, lack of doubt — these things are not only critical to success, as far as Bush is concerned, they actually have the power to create success, to bend the world to your iron will. In the five years since 9/11, Bush has acted like a self-help seminar graduate, converted to the gospel of self-confidence, convinced that doubt forms the paving stones of the road to failure. He paid $395 for that afternoon of pep talks, and he’ll be damned if he isn’t going to let confidence be the key to the life he’s always wanted.

But it isn’t Tony Robbins whispering into Bush’s ear; it’s Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger, a veritable Bobbsey Twins of Death. As Bob Woodward’s latest book reported, Kissinger, former secretary of state under Nixon, has become a frequent visitor to the White House, counseling Bush not to go all wobbly. Meanwhile, Vice President Cheney— the man who peddled phony Iraqi connections to 9/11 long after they had been discredited; the man who in August 2002 told us, “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us”; the man who in May 2005 told us that the Iraqi insurgency was in its “last throes” — is eagerly creating the next wave of the war.

Cheney told Fox News this Sunday, “The threat that Iran represents is growing, it’s multidimensional, and it is, in fact, of concern to everybody in the region.” (Reporting the latest news from Bizarro Iraq, Cheney also said in the interview that “we have, in fact, made enormous progress” there.) Whatever the true extent of Iran’s machinations in Iraq, they certainly didn’t begin last week. Yet all of a sudden, we hear Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and other assorted administration mouthpieces sounding dreadfully concerned about Iran.

When the “surge” (you can feel the testosterone every time you say it) fails to make Iraq’s warring sects join hands and inaugurate an Iraqi Spring of peace and togetherness, it will likely be blamed on the mullahs and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seems only too eager to become America’s next dark villain, complete with the standard-issue Hitler comparisons (Don’t you know he denies the Holocaust?!? We may have no choice but to invade.)

Talk of “victory” has recently disappeared from the president’s public utterances, as the idea grows ever more fanciful. There will be no banner headlines proclaiming our triumph, no ticker-tape parades, no one thrusting their arms in the air and shouting, “Woo-hoo! We won!” One way or another we will leave Iraq, and the best we can hope to feel is relief that our part in this miserable orgy of death and suffering has finally come to an end. One way or another we will leave, and there will be no joy on that day.

Watching Bush speak about Iraq of late, one can see the faint glimmer of defeat in his eyes. He often speaks of history, arguing that what today seems like epic stupidity, stunning naiveté, unfathomable incompetence and shameless dishonesty will, some decades hence, be seen by all as the soul of wisdom and vision. That hope may be all he has left. But it is enough to keep him comfortable in his bed, resting peacefully until morning.
[WA: he has his delusions to keep him warm].

For the real reasons for the "surge" and continued war, see:
Is Energo-Fascism in Your Future?

It Is Still About The Oil
Plots for complete takeover of Iraq's oil, to further enrich Big Oil and maintain control of the oil.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Election Time Already

I was listening to one of the news shows this morning (CNN?) tell me that the Presidential candidates had to have a couple of million dollars apiece to even think about running. This was right after Senator Clinton announced she was forming an exploratory committee or whatever it's called. So it takes almost two years of campaigning and millions each to hold an election? Who's governing while they're all out on the stump for two years?

I was multiplying that $ figure in my head by the number of potential candidates and shuddering when I ran across this from Zay N. Smith in the Chicago Sun-Times. I need to move that paper over to my other mailbox as I keep forgetting to check it.

"The chairman of the Federal Election Commission yesterday predicted that 2008 will produce the first $1 billion presidential race. . . ."

No avoiding it. Now the corporations will need more tax relief so they can afford to keep running our politics.


How Many More Sacrifices ?

Book about Cpl. Jason Dunham:

Photo at right: Cpl. Jason Dunham, awarded Medal of Honor ; died in
service in Iraq saving lives of his men; killed by insurgent's grenade.
See story at:

More: more photos, text, audio, video at

More of our children slaughtered:

From Houston Chronicle, Sunday, January 21, 2007 - pg. A-1

On one of the deadliest days for the U.S. military since the Iraq war began, an American helicopter crashed ..., killing all 13 aboard ... . Iraqi officials ... said it had been shot down ... .
Elsewhere, five U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in a battle with gunmen ... and two soldiers died from other attacks ... .
How many more will be sacrificed for imperial world domination ambitions in an illegal war waged by lies. Our sons and daughters honor their committment to the military , to their homeland and to each other, bravely doing their duty and dying for a false cause. Over 3,000 now lie dead and an unknown number injured, maimed, and suffering mental trauma - unknown because the American people are misled about the numbers. When will it stop? After 50,000-plus as in Korea, after 50,000 plus as in Vietnam? If Bush involves us in a world conflagration, how many then? How many civilians of various nations will be rendered homeless, dead, maimed? How much more hatred and disrespect for America will be generated? WA

Who is More Worthy ?

Worried Squawks again - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting but not about petty complaints of blogging problems.

This time the complaint is about the cheesy quality of the Medal of Honor awarded our brave warriors who sacrificed their lives in an outstanding manner. See the post above about Cpl. Jason Dunham.

One day after Bush presented the Medal of Honor to the mother of the dead marine, Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., ordered his aides to investigate how much gold was in the medal. His staff discovered that the medals were of brass covered with a thin veneer of gold. The Army's version cost $29.95 and the AirForce's design cost $75.

In contrast, the Congressional Medal of Honor, frequently awarded to dignitaries and celebrities (as well as to some military officers of high rank) is 90% gold and costs $30,000 ! The medal given "to Frank Sinatra is worth a thousand times more than the ones we give our heroes in uniform," Baca said. "Ain't that a shame?"

Contrary to popular belief, the Congressional Medal of Honor is NOT the same as the military Medal of Honor.

Many names on that list were worthy of an honor and I have no quarrell with them being so honored. I like Frank Sinatra's songs just fine but I find it doubtful that he was worthy of a $30,000 medal when a marine who sacrificed his life to save his buddies was worth only $29.95 !!

My squawk echos Rep. Baca's. Our military members who perform an outstanding act of bravery, usually sacrificing their own lives in so doing, deserve no less than those honored civilians. Was Frank Sinatra's singing more valuable than Cpl. Jason Dunham's heroism?

So what was the Pentagon's response to Rep. Baca's bill to require the Pentagon to put more real gold in the medals? The Pentagon opposes it because it would cost $2 million over the next five years. 1). they must expect to award a lot more Medals of Honor in the next five years! Do they expect the war to escalate THAT much? and 2). what is $2 million compared to the trillions being spent on this hellish, illegal war? Don't the soldiers who die in this war deserve a little bit of those trillions?

Since the inception of the Medal of Honor in the Civil War, it has been awarded only 3,459 times, and almost half were awarded to Civil War soldiers. More than half who received it did not survive the action for which it was awarded. check out the sites on the sidebar.

Oh yes, the Pentagon also said that "the true beauty of the Medal of Honor is reflected in both the detailed heraldic design and the quality of the manufacturing process." Um-hummm! Doesn't the same hold true for those medals awarded to civilians? Give THEM $29.95 medals.

How does this grab you?

Source: Houston Chronicle, Sunday, January 21, 2007 pg A5